Home Blog Page 2

Hagerman’s rally shows heart

From left to right: Brian Erickson, representing Hagerman EMS ambulance team, Hagerman Police Chief Rachelle Bateman and Liliana Marquez, representing the Hagerman Fire Department. The first responders will have their vehicles at the Hagerman Blowback Rally, which is a joint community fundraiser between them and the community. (Submitted Photo)

First responder and community fundraiser event will benefit two storm victim families

The first responders and community of Hagerman invite the public to the Blowback Rally on Aug. 25 at the Hagerman Community Center, 501 E. Argyle St. The event is a fundraiser for the two families who lost their homes in the June windstorm.

As reported in the Roswell Daily Record on June 6, the storm that went through Hagerman hit the small community with 60- to 80-mph straight-line winds leaving damage and destruction. Fortunately, no one was injured, but two families lost everything they had, including their homes.

The first responders of Hagerman and surrounding areas are inviting everyone to come out, meet them and enjoy a day of fun and entertainment. Police cars and fire trucks will be on location and kids and adults can learn how they function.

Showing a sense of humor, there will be a dunk-a-cop or -firefighter station. A friendly competition of shield versus hose takes place at 3:30 p.m.

At 8 a.m., a sand volleyball tournament will take place — four versus four with six to a team. To register or for more information about the tournament, call 575-840-4864.

At 11 a.m., teams compete in throwing horseshoes. To register in advance, call 575-626-8813. Registration of teams and payment can also be done that morning.

The Runyan Petting Zoo is bringing its animals. They will be staying from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Children will have fun during the day in the bouncy house, with face painting from Let’s Play Entertainment. Comic characters from “Fame One” are waiting to shake hands and give hugs and the Girl Scouts of the Desert Southwest are putting up an explorer station.

Cowpie bingo gives every player a chance to win cash prizes of $5,000 and $1,000 at 2 and 5 p.m. A huge bingo grid will be made consisting of 200 squares with numbers from one to 200. Then a cow will be led onto the grid. Whoever holds the ticket with the number matching the square where the cow deposits its pie wins the cash prize. Ticket owners do not need to be present to win.

For tickets, call 575-626-8813. Tickets can be purchased at the Hagerman Police Department, which is located next to the Hagerman Community Center. Tickets can also be purchased from the Hagerman Varsity Cheerleaders and at the Hagerman Town Hall, 209 E. Argyle St.

There will also be a photo booth, donut-eating contest and a pop-with-a-cop station.

Throughout the day, refreshments and snacks are available for purchase. The Hagerman Lions Club is selling hamburgers and hot dogs at noon and the women of St. Catherine’s Church prepare enchilada plates starting at 4:30 p.m.

There will also be an indoor bingo from 6 to 8 p.m. and at 8:30 p.m., a movie in the park ends the day. There are no benches in the park, but everyone can bring blankets and chairs.

The schedule is subject to change.

All proceeds of the event will be divided in half and given to the two families to help rebuild their homes.

The organizers are still looking for donations to help funding. For updates, donations or to volunteer, visit the Hagerman Police Department’s Facebook page or call 575-626-8813.

Christina Stock may be contacted at 622-7710, ext. 309, or at vision@rdrnews.com.

Local Democrats open party headquarters on Southeast Main

People eat in Suite A at 1701 SE Main Street Thursday night during the opening of the campaign office of the Democratic Party of Chaves County. The party and Democratic campaigns will use the space through the November elections. (Alex Ross Photo)

Local Democrats kicked off the election season Thursday night with the opening of their campaign office.

The party faithful dined on Mexican food, mingled and heard from two candidates in down ballot races in the two-room space in Suite A at 1701 SE Main Street. The space will function as the office for local Democrats through the November election.

The space was until recently the office of the Roswell Hispano Chamber of Commerce.

Paul Romero, chair of the Democratic Party of Chaves County, said he and others in the party looked at a few locations, but said the space was the most efficient.

“We looked around and it seemed like one of the better deals,” Romero said.

The same location was used as the campaign office by Democrats in the 2016 election cycle, he added.

The offices will be open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m to 6 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Races for the U.S. Senate, U.S. House, governor and a host of other statewide, state legislative, judicial and county races will be decided in the coming election.

Romero said that people he would never think would vote Democrat have expressed a willingness to do so this year. Candidates this year have also been willing to come campaign in Chaves County, a Republican stronghold.

Romero told the audience that after the election in 2016, he lost hope, but they cannot undo the past.

“We move forward until November and then we write a new chapter in politics,” he said.

Michael Trujillo, a candidate in the District 1 race for the Chaves County Commission and Kevin Sanders, candidate for the District 2 seat on the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission, also spoke at the gathering.

Trujillo, a former two-term county County Commissioner, will go up against former state Representative Dara Dana, a Republican, in the fall for the seat now held by James Duffy. Duffy is unable to run for re-election due to term limits.

Trujillo said his background makes him a good fit for the seat.

“I am the candidate who has experience,” he said. “We need a Democrat up there and I’m going to be your voice.”

Trujillo added that going forward he wants to ensure the county sheriff’s office and fire departments have the best equipment. Fixing county roads and economic development are other issues that he said he hopes to work on if elected.

Trujillo said that he and volunteers have campaigned door-to-door in district one.

“We’ve been hitting about 100 houses in two hours,” he said.

Kevin Sanders, the Democrat in the race for the District 2 seat on the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission, said that while races for governor and U.S. Senate get all the attention, the contests further down the ballot, such as his, also have an impact on everyday New Mexicans.

“People need to focus more on these local races because it effects them and how much they pay on their utility bills,” he said.

Sanders, an attorney from Tucumcari, will face Republican Jefferson Byrd in November. The winner will represent District 2, which encompasses eastern New Mexico and is the largest of the commission’s four districts.

The district is now represented by Patrick Lyons, a Republican, who is unable to run for re-election because of term limits.

Sanders said no Democrat has ever represented District 2 on the commission so he has his work cut out for him. He added that the energy sector is at a crossroads, moving from oil to alternatives such as wind and solar.

He said New Mexico needs to look at what other states are doing in the field of renewable energy. He said there are also other tools, such as federal grants that the state can take advantage of.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.

Student artists recognized at board meeting


Niki Gibson and Abigail Cano, both age 10, point to their artwork featured in the Roswell Independent School District’s board room. Gibson is a student at Berrendo Elementary School and Cano attends East Grand Plains Elementary School. Forty-five students were recognized at the school board meeting on Tuesday. “I think it is just a testament to the need for arts in education and integrating those, helping our kids make those connections with what they are learning and being able to express that so beautifully and so creatively through their artwork,” Superintendent Dr. Ann McIlroy said. Abbie Smith, Arts Connect principal, said it is “plain to see the amazing talent of students” and the staff that guides it. Smith and the staff gave certificates and ribbons to the students after the recognition. (Alison Penn Photo)

Teacher earns Golden Apple Award


Jessica Sanders, a Berrendo Middle School (BMS) science teacher, was recognized as the Golden Apple Award recipient at the Roswell Independent School District’s school board meeting on Tuesday night. Licia Hillman, principal of Berrendo Middle School, said Sanders has been able to reach “all types of learners” and that she is proud of Sanders’ accomplishment. “The goal is to go beyond yourself, beyond your district, beyond your city and to bring education back to the classroom for experiences our students wouldn’t normally have,” Sanders said. Sanders said the bar is set high and she is honored to bring back a “world-experience” to BMS. (Alison Penn Photo)

Nonprofit talks about park upgrade

The Keep Chaves County Beautiful group expects to finish repairs and upgrades to Cumberland Park in Midway by early December. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

The only park owned by Chaves County should look a lot different by early December if the plans of a local nonprofit go forward.

A group of about 30 people met Thursday night at the Midway Volunteer Fire Department Station to talk about efforts to fix up Cumberland Park, which has fallen into disrepair since it was established sometime around 1980 as a place where the community went for church gatherings, movies and other events.

The park is located at the corner of Templeton and Day streets in the unincorporated area of Midway, a community of about 700 people. The project to spruce up Cumberland is happening now because the Keep Chaves County Beautiful organization has received a $20,000 grant from the Keep America Beautiful-Lowe’s Community Partner grant program.

“How often do you have $20,000 thrown at you to do something productive with? Very rare. We have an opportunity here with essentially free money,” said Sean Davis, president of the Keep Chaves County Beautiful group.

The group took up the project after Chaves County staff asked them to consider it as a future effort. The group is now aligned with Chaves County, but was once the Keep Roswell Beautiful group formed in 1986. According to Keep America Beautiful guidelines, its affiliated nonprofits must be associated with a governmental entity.

Davis told meeting attendees that the grant money can be used to pay for products and goods, but not labor or services. At this time, the organization plans to build a new fence; add some lights; resurface and repaint the basketball court; install a privacy screen around two large county waste bins; purchase and install park benches, picnic tables, grills and trash receptacles; create horseshoe pits, a small soccer field, a volleyball area, and a walking path; build a colorful children’s play area from recycled tires; and plant flowers, trees and shrubs.

Items are expected to be ordered by the end of August, with materials available in about 30 days. Then volunteer work can begin, with the bulk of efforts expected in October and November.

Davis said that he hopes volunteers will come not only from the Keep Chaves County Beautiful group but from the Midway community, the Roswell Job Corps and area school groups.

Experienced welders are especially needed, Davis said, and the group also is looking for donations of sand for play areas and pea gravel or crushing fines for the walking trail.

Chaves County is helping with the project as well. It has repaired the well so that it can be used for light watering or irrigation, and it will dig the walking trail.

“I think it is great,” said David Sutherland about the plans for the park. He was one of the community members at the meeting and has three younger children who he thinks will play in the park once it is upgraded.

“I grew up here,” he said. “The park used to be a lot better when I was a kid. I would like to see it where my kids will use it.”

More information about the project is available on the group’s Facebook page or by calling 575-317-5661.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

Dunn rejects federal agency’s offer for state trust land ‘trespass’


New Mexico State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn has rejected an offer of about $8,700 from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency that he said was made to remedy an alleged trespass on state trust lands.

According to information released Wednesday by the State Land Office, Dunn launched an investigation in February that determined that the federal agency had constructed a portion of the controversial border wall, and was maintaining a road on state trust lands east of Santa Teresa, without acquiring the necessary right-of-way. About seven acres were affected.

Shortly thereafter, according to Dunn, Customs and Border Protection officials acknowledged the trespass, and the two agencies began a dialogue to remedy the situation, with the federal agency agreeing to appraise the land to determine how much it would offer to redress the situation.

“After nearly six months of evaluation, we hoped to sell the one-mile wide stretch of land for a reasonable price,” Dunn said. “The federal appraisal was for $8,736.”

Dunn said he was unwilling to sell the land for less than his office would receive for an easement. A 60-foot road and access easement for the same acreage would generate almost $20,000 over the course of a 35-year lease, Dunn said, and $54,310 over the course of a 99-year lease agreement.

“I’m disappointed with the federal government’s confiscation of state trust lands and the compensation offered,” he said. “President (Donald) Trump continues his push to funnel billions of dollars to construct a border wall, yet his administration seems bent on shortchanging our beneficiaries. I just cannot accept it.”

“CBP takes its relationships with stakeholders very seriously,” said Roger Maier, a public affairs specialist with Customs and Border Protection. “To that end, CBP has been and continues to coordinate very closely with the State Land Office. CBP does not have any comment on those on-going discussions. To date, there have been no impacts to CBP’s border security operations.”

The affected mile-long section of land, located east of the Santa Teresa Port of Entry in Dona Ana County, was conveyed to the Territory of New Mexico under the 1898 Ferguson Act and continues to be held in trust solely for public schools.

Interior Dept official visits Chaves County


A deputy director of the U.S. Department of the Interior is visiting the area for a few days to tour Chaves County.

Tim Williams, deputy director of the Office of External Affairs, said he was not authorized to talk with news media, but he was introduced at the Wednesday meeting of the Chaves County Board of Commissioners meeting by Chair Robert Corn.

“He is one of the few guys that comes out of Washington and comes out and looks at the landscape and tries to understand whenever we are visiting with him back in Washington what we are talking about,” Corn said. “He was one of the folks who gave us a little visit at the White House, Commissioner (Will) Cavin and I, a couple of weeks ago, and we got to meet with him and asked him to come out and he took us up on our invitation.”

After the meeting, Corn explained that Williams, some county staff and a commissioner or two will take private tours of some of the county together, including public lands that have been proposed to be designated as Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) and Lands with Wilderness Characteristics (LWCs) by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which is part of the Interior Department.

The visit comes at a time when the county is one of several suing the Interior Department and the BLM over how it engages in land and resource planning. One of the major allegations of the lawsuit is that the agencies are not abiding by federal regulations that require them to coordinate with counties in the planning process, not just inform them of what is occurring and seek their input.

Some county commissioners also have voiced concerns with the BLM’s revision of the Carlsbad Resource Management Plan, which covers portions of Chaves County. The recently released draft plan, which is now open for public comment, has recommended that some BLM parcels in the county be designated as ACECs and LWCs, which would limit their availability for livestock grazing, public access or business activities.

NMMI head coach resigns to become a Lobo

Former NMMI Coach Ralph Davis gives instructions to his players during a game this season. Davis resigned on Friday to take a job with the University of New Mexico basketball team. (NMMI Sports Press Photo)

A lot of folks ask, what can New Mexico Military Institute do for a cadet? Well, take a kid from the inner city who is used to the fast-paced life of New Jersey and New York City and ask him to adopt the regimented lifestyle of the military. Talk about shock and cultural change. Nine years later, that same kid turned out to be former NMMI head coach Ralph Davis. Davis is glad he came here and happy with the direction his path in life has taken him.

The sad part about Friday came the announcement by NMMI that Davis is leaving to take a job with the University of New Mexico basketball team as a video coordinator.

“I was presented with this opportunity,” Davis said. “I have nothing but good things to say about NMMI. Not only was I a coach there for the past nine years, but I was also a cadet there as well.”

Davis feels that the time is right for him to move on, he was an assistant coach under Sean Schooley and coached by Reggie Franklin. He felt like the teams he played on played to a high level of basketball in the Western Junior College Athletic Conference (WJCAC). As an assistant, he was charged with recruiting players and developing them to get to the next level in college.

“The things I learned playing under coaches Franklin and Schooley,” Davis stated, “was to play hard and take care of my business. Two years with them really meant a lot to my career.”

Davis cannot give enough credit to NMMI as it helped him grow into a man. It not only helped him on the basketball court but off of it as well — he had to learn to study and do things in a military manner and handle his time. One of the biggest things he felt NMMI instilled in him was to use time management skills in his favor and to get the most out of every minute of the day to help him succeed. This trait has not only helped him academically but as a coach and recruiter as well.

“My second year at NMMI was easier than my first,” Davis said. “I had a great time there; this is a unique place. I enjoyed being here enough that I decided I wanted to come back to work here. I’m sad to be winding down my career here.”

As a player at NMMI, Davis started every game his sophomore year and was WJCAC Honorable Mention selection his sophomore year. Davis would leave NMMI with an Associate of Arts degree.

Jose Barron, NMMI’s athletic director, felt a closeness to Davis because both were in their first year at NMMI together. Davis as a player and Barron as an athletic director. Barron could see the hard work Davis put in as a cadet, and as an assistant coach before getting the head coaching job at NMMI.

After graduating from NMMI, Davis went on to play for Texas A&M Kingsville, where he was a standout. He played so well that his coach Pete Peterson offered him the chance to become a graduate assistant for two years. Davis would graduate with a degree in criminology and a master’s in sociology.

“One of the things I learned from coach Peterson was attention to detail,” Davis said. “I learned to coach the small things that I had to learn as a player. He (Peterson) was very influential in my career.”

Davis got the urge to become a coach at NMMI because of Franklin and Schooley, who helped develop his passion for coaching.

“I have always wanted to impact as many lives as I can,” Davis said. “My focus has always been to do the best job I can in whatever situation I’m in and to impact as many kids for positive going down the road I’m on. If your intentions are pure and clear, I think things will work out for you.”

Barron felt all along that Davis would one day be in this position to go to the next level and just like the recruits that come to NMMI to play at the higher level, he wants his coaches to do the same if they choose to take their career in that path.

“To say that I’m happy for Ralph (Davis) is an understatement,” Barron said. “He’s done well for us. He’s certainly paid his dues at this level as a coach. I’m very proud he’s moving up to the Division I level, which is probably every coach’s and every player’s dream.”

Barron has already hired Davis’ replacement. Barron is bringing back former NMMI basketball coach Sean Schooley on an interim basis.

“Schooley is obviously a more-than-capable coach,” Barron said. “He has held the coaching job previously and knows no. He has served in various roles for the past few seasons. I don’t think we’ll miss a beat with him at the helm, and I’m looking forward to having him back on the bench.”

Davis coached at NMMI from 2015-2017 going 38-53 overall and 15-33 in the WJCAC.

“I’m so thankful to NMMI, the administration,” Davis said, “the staff and faculty. NMMI has been a part of my adult life and the same thing with the city of Roswell. I have nothing but positive things to say about this area. I’m from New Jersey, but this is home away from home.”

Ryan impressive in Falcons’ 28-14 preseason loss to Chiefs

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) passes against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Friday, Aug. 17, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)

ATLANTA (AP) — After a dismal showing in the first preseason game, Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons found their offensive rhythm Friday.

Ryan guided the Falcons right down the field for a touchdown on their first possession, hooking up with Austin Hooper on a 4-yard scoring pass , and led another impressive drive before calling it a night in a 28-14 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Ryan finished 5 of 7 for 90 yards, looking very much like the quarterback who won the MVP during the 2016 season even though two of his top weapons, receiver Julio Jones and running back Devonta Freeman, were held out for the second week in a row.

It was certainly an encouraging contrast to the preseason opener, when the Falcons (0-2) were blanked 17-0 by the New York Jets and Ryan played only one brief series .

With a resting Jones watching from the sideline, Calvin Ridley got a chance to shine for the Falcons. The first-round pick from Alabama hauled in the first touchdown of his professional career on a 7-yard pass from backup quarterback Matt Schaub .

Ridley finished with three receptions for 49 yards.

Kansas City’s new starting quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, had an up-and-down game. The second-year player was intercepted on a deep throw by Falcons safety Damontae Kazee , who drifted over from the middle of the field to pick a ball intended for Sammy Watkins.

Mahomes caught a break when another ill-advised throw into the end zone was dropped by Falcons cornerback Blidi Wren-Wilson, allowing the Chiefs to salvage a field goal.

But, with just 17 seconds left in the first half, Mahomes made the most of his final pass. Three Atlanta defensive backs inexplicably allowed Tyreek Hill to get behind them, and Mahomes delivered the pass in stride for a 69-yard touchdown .

Mahomes was 8 of 12 for 138 yards.

Chad Henne took over for Mahomes to begin the second half. He connected with Gehrig Dieter on a 27-yard touchdown that put the Chiefs (1-1) ahead for the first time, capping a 10-play, 76-yard drive.

Ben Niemann finished off the scoring with a 26-yard interception return for a touchdownafter picking off a baffling throw by Atlanta’s third-string quarterback, undrafted rookie Kurt Benkert.

While many Atlanta fans were still backed up in security lines outside Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Ryan began his impressive showing by converting on third-and-11 with a 29-yard pass to Hooper.

Tevin Coleman, the other half of the Falcons’ dynamic 1-2 punch at running back, broke off a pair of 15-yard runs before Ryan rolled to his left and hit Hooper on the short scoring pass. The tight end showed impressive athleticism, hurtling into the end zone over cornerback Steven Nelson .

After the Chiefs went three-and-out, Ryan guided the Falcons deep into Kansas City territory once again. The big play was a 36-yard completion to Ridley , who beat David Amerson to haul in the pass.

On fourth-and-2 at the Chiefs 20, the Falcons passed on a field goal attempt, which was essentially irrelevant since 43-year-old kicker Matt Bryant skipped his second straight preseason game. Ryan’s pass for Ridley was broken up by Kendall Fuller, halting a seven-play, 69-yard drive.


Nelson was kneed in the head by Hooper on Atlanta’s first touchdown and staggered off the field. He was evaluated for a possible concussion.

Another Kansas City player, linebacker Terrance Smith, sustained an ankle injury.

The Chiefs also were missing star safety Eric Berry, who didn’t dress while he continues to nurse a sore heel.


There were no apparent protests during the national anthem.


Chiefs: Hit the road again to face the Chicago Bears on Aug. 25.

Falcons: Travel to Jacksonville that same day to face the Jaguars in a matchup between 2017 playoff teams.

Bogaerts rallies Red Sox to 7-3 win over Rays

Boston Red Sox's Xander Bogaerts hits a double during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays in Boston, Friday, Aug. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

BOSTON (AP) — Xander Bogaerts hit a two-run triple and added a pair of doubles, and the Boston Red Sox scored seven straight runs after allowing three in the first to beat the Tampa Bay Rays 7-3 on Friday night.

Jackie Bradley Jr. had two hits, including an RBI double in the sixth, and the Red Sox improved on the best record in the majors with their 87th victory.

Brian Johnson recovered after getting roughed up in the first with three runs on four hits and a walk. Johnson (4-3) didn’t allow another run and pitched 5 2/3 innings before leaving after Joey Wendle’s two-out double in the sixth — Tampa Bay’s first hit since the first inning.

Wendle drove in two runs with a double in the first and Carlos Gomez had an RBI single for the Rays.

Yonny Chirinos (1-5) took over for Ryne Stanek in the second inning and allowed five runs on nine hits over six innings.

Bogaerts pulled Boston within 3-2 on a triple to center in the first, then led off the fourth with a double. Eduardo Nunez drove him in with a single to tie it at 3-all and the Red Sox added another run after Mookie Betts’ leadoff double in the fifth and a one-out single by Mitch Moreland.

Mallex Smith had a pair of hits for the Rays and a made a great catch in the second on a sinking ball hit by Nunez, running it down in shallow right just before crashing hard into the wall with his left hip. Smith held on to the ball despite tumbling into the front row and remained in the game after a quick visit from the trainer.

Bradley answered in the third for Boston when he ran down a long fly near the wall and made a leaping catch just in front of the 379-foot mark for the second out.

Johnson walked Pham with two outs in the first before Cron and Wendle hit consecutive doubles and Gomez singled to drive in Wendle for a 3-0 lead.

Stanek allowed two runs on two hits in the first, his only inning after coming out of the bullpen in the eighth inning Thursday night in the Rays’ win at New York.


Rays: LHP Vidal Nuno (strained right hamstring) was scheduled to pitch two innings for Class A Charlotte on Friday night. Nuno has been on the DL since July 4.

Red Sox: Activated Ian Kinsler (strained left hamstring) from the 10-day DL and started him at second. . Placed 3B Rafael Devers on the 10-day DL with a strained left hamstring, retroactive to Thursday.


Rays: RHP Tyler Glasnow (1-2, 3.97 ERA) gets his fourth start for the Rays since arriving from Pittsburgh in the Chris Archer trade July 31.

Red Sox: LHP David Price (12-6, 3.75) has allowed a total three runs over his last four starts, going 2-0 with two no-decisions.

Iris Ann Smothermon


Iris Ann Smothermon, 62, of Roswell, NM passed away surrounded by family on August 8, 2018. Iris was born in Rantoul, Illinois to Harold and Phyllis Smothermon on March 18, 1956.

Iris was loved by all who knew her. She was an amazing daughter, sister, aunt, friend, grandmother, and most importantly a wonderful mother to her three children. She was a woman filled with so much love and compassion and a deep passion for God. She was a member of Church On The Move, where she was involved in various ministries within the church’s dream team. She loved working with the elderly and headed nursing home ministries at Casa Maria and Mission Arch. She was also very involved with “Walk For Hope” which is the main fundraiser for Chaves County Cancer Fund.

Iris not only stayed busy with her ministries, children, and grandchildren, but was extremely busy running her own business, Treasured Friends Pet Crematory, where her compassion and love for people really showed. She enjoyed her Sundays going to church, eating lunch with her mother and youngest daughter and talking on the phone with her two oldest children. She was a blessing to all who knew her and will truly be missed.

Iris was preceded in death by her father, Harold Smothermon.

Iris is survived by her mother, Phyllis Smothermon of Roswell, NM; two daughters, Brittney (Chris) Romero of Clovis, NM and Jaydian Smothermon of Roswell, NM; one son, Nathan (Dana) Casillas of Claremore, Ok; seven grandchildren, Sierra (Dayton) Anson, Cody (Sunshine) Romero, Nathan Casillas II, Cassidie Casillas, Taylor Casillas, Brendan Casillas, and Olivia Casillas; two great-grandchildren, Jayce Anson and Lucas Casillas; four brothers, Bryan (Diana) Smothermon, Chris (Tina) Smothermon, Steve (Cindy) Smothermon, and Troy (Julie) Smothermon; along with numerous nieces and nephews.

A memorial celebration of life will be held at Church On The Move of Roswell, NM on Sunday August 19, 2018 at 6:00 pm.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Ballard Funeral Home and Crematory. An online registry can be accessed at www.ballardfuneralhome.com.

Nola strikes out 11, pitches Phillies past Mets 4-2

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Aaron Nola throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the New York Mets, Friday, Aug. 17, 2018, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Aaron Nola struck out 11 in seven impressive innings to stay unbeaten at Citizens Bank Park, pitching the Philadelphia Phillies past the New York Mets 4-2 on Friday night.

Asdrubal Cabrera hit an RBI double off former teammate Noah Syndergaard during a three-run first inning, and Nola made the early lead stand up.

Nola (14-3) one run on three hits with one walk while lowering his ERA in 2.24. The All-Star is even better at home, improving to 9-0 with a 2.00 mark in 12 starts in Philadelphia this season.

Pat Neshek pitched a scoreless ninth for his third save in as many chances.

Syndergaard (8-3) allowed four runs on eight hits with five strikeouts and two walks in 5 2/3 innings.

Nick Williams and Jorge Alfaro also drove in runs for the playoff-contending Phillies.

Austin Jackson had three hits and an RBI for the Mets.

Cabrera’s double put the Phillies ahead and Williams followed with an RBI single. Cabrera, traded from the Mets to Philadelphia last month, scored on Carlos Santana’s double-play groundout.

That was more than enough for Nola, who struck out the side in the first and retired nine of the first 10 Mets. The only batter that reached during that stretch, Jose Bautista, got on because of an error by second baseman Cesar Hernandez. It made it 94 errors for Philadelphia, which began play second in the majors to St. Louis (95).

New York got its lone run off Nola in the fourth. Jeff McNeil led off with a single, the first hit off Nola, went to third on Jackson’s single and scored on Todd Frazier’s sacrifice fly.


Mets: An MRI on the left index finger of RF Brandon Nimmo revealed no structural damage. Nimmo, who was injured on Thursday, was not in the lineup Friday but could play on Saturday. . Reliever Bobby Wahl was placed on the DL with a right hamstring strain and LHP Daniel Zamora was recalled from Double-A Binghamton. Zamora made his major league debut, pitching 1 1/3 scoreless innings with two strikeouts.


Mets ace Jacob deGrom (7-7, major league-best 1.81 ERA) opposes RHP Jake Arrieta (9-7, 3.33) in the fourth game of the five-game set on Saturday afternoon. DeGrom is 6-1 with a 2.45 ERA in 13 career starts against the Phillies and struck out seven in eight shutout innings of a 3-0 win on July 11. Arrieta is 2-2 with a 1.99 ERA in eight career starts vs. the Mets.

Snedeker follows 59 with 67, takes 2-shot lead at Wyndham

Brandt Snedeker lines up his putt on the 15th hole during the second round of the Wyndham Championship golf tournament at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C., Friday, Aug. 17, 2018. (Khadejeh Nikouyeh/News & Record via AP)

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Brandt Snedeker couldn’t block out the buzz that surrounded his first-round 11-under 59 at the Wyndham Championship. He refocused just in time to reclaim the lead.

Snedeker followed his historic opening score with a 67 on Friday to take a two-stroke lead into the weekend at the Wyndham Championship.

A day after becoming the 10th player in PGA Tour history to break 60, Snedeker moved to 14-under 126 halfway through the final PGA Tour event before the playoffs.

“You hear people telling you every two seconds, ‘Mr. 59,’ or saying how cool it was to watch it,” Snedeker said. “So, yes, totally on your mind.”

D.A. Points shot a 64 to reach 12 under — one stroke ahead of C.T. Pan, who also had a 64. David Hearn, Peter Malnati, Keith Mitchell, Harris English, Brett Stegmaier and Sergio Garcia were 9 under.

Snedeker, the 2012 FedEx Cup champion, won this tournament in 2007 before it moved across town to the par-70 Sedgefield Country Club. He had the tour’s first 59 of the year during the first round.

But it wasn’t easy to follow a score like that. Of the nine previous players who have broken 60 on the tour, six had to play the next day and only one has shot better than 65 in that round: Justin Thomas, who had a 64 in the second round of last year’s Sony Open.

“You can’t ignore it, you can’t try to forget about it,” Snedeker said. “Hardest thing is trying to get back into a rhythm. … Now I’m better equipped for the next time I shoot 59 and play the next day.”

By the time Snedeker teed off Friday afternoon, that low score had held up for a one-stroke lead. It temporarily slipped away when he had three bogeys on the front nine.

He reclaimed the lead late in his round with some nifty putting. He sank two putts longer than 30 feet, one for eagle on the par-5 15th and another for birdie on the par-4 16th, and wrapped up with the best two-round score at this tournament since Carl Pettersson’s 125 a decade ago.

“When I finally convinced myself to hit a few putts, they started going in,” Snedeker said. “Over 72 holes, you’re going to have stretches where balls don’t go in the hole, you’ve got to be able to kind of overcome, be patient, wait for the long ones to fall, and luckily I made a couple coming down the stretch.”

Points, who has made only one cut since January and failed to reach the weekend in 19 of his 24 tournaments this season, had a strong front nine with three birdies and an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole, where he sank a 40-foot putt. He has finished in the top 20 at this tournament twice since 2014, and after starting far off the bubble at No. 214 on the points list, could play his way into the playoffs this weekend.

“Basically, I know this is possibly my last event of the year, so I haven’t been grinding really hard,” Points said. “It seems to be paying off.”

Pan, a 26-year-old from Taiwan, had birdies on three of his final four holes to climb the leaderboard. He sank a 20-foot birdie putt on No. 17 and an 8-footer on the 18th to match the best round of his young career. He also shot 64s last year at the Travelers Championship and the RSM Classic.

“I love this course,” Pan said, adding that his “trajectory tends to be lower than compared to other guys, so I think I have an advantage here.”

Among the other highlights: Brian Gay had the day’s best round, a 63 tarnished only by a bogey on his final hole on which he missed a 4-foot par putt. And Mitchell opened with five consecutive birdies to briefly raise the possibility of a second sub-60 score in two days, before slipping back later in his round.

“It’s definitely a different feeling,” Mitchell said. “But it’s a feeling you try to get comfortable with because you want to be in that zone.”

A key subplot at Sedgefield every year is the push by bubble players to earn postseason spots. The top 125 players on the points list make the field for the Northern Trust in New Jersey, and everyone from No. 122 to No. 132 is playing this weekend.

Bill Haas, who at No. 150 is in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time, made the cut at 3 under. Garcia, at No. 131, also is trying to make it for the 12th straight year. Johnathan Byrd — who at No. 183 probably needs to win or finish alone in second place to earn enough points to qualify — remains in the mix at 8 under.

“It’s kind of an easy mentality in a sense,” Byrd said. “Just got to play amazing or go home, or go to the (Web.com Tour) finals.”

Racket-smashing Djokovic reaches Cincinnati semifinals

Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, returns Milos Raonic, of Canada, at the Western & Southern Open tennis tournament, Friday, Aug. 17, 2018, in Mason, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

MASON, Ohio (AP) — Novak Djokovic destroyed a racket to get on track and took another step toward the title that has eluded him.

Enraged by his poor play in the opening set, Djokovic slammed his racket on the court and rallied for a 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 victory over Milos Raonic on Friday night to reach the semifinals of the Western & Southern Open, the only ATP Masters event he has yet to win.

After his passing shot finished the 2-hour, 30-minute match, Djokovic led the crowd in cheers and pumped his fist, ending a long day with an impromptu celebration. He beat defending champion Grigor Dimitrov a few hours earlier, completing a match suspended overnight because of rain and returned a few hours later to play a rested opponent.

“Quite a roller coaster, to be honest,” he said.

Djokovic has reached the finals in Cincinnati five times and lost every time. He’s trying to become the first to win all nine ATP Masters 1000 championships.

“That’s why I’m here,” he said. “I have plenty of motivation. I’ve put myself in a good position in the semifinals.”

He’ll face Marin Cilic, who won twice Friday to reach the semifinals. He beat Karen Khachanov in three sets, completing a suspended match, and got a 7-6 (7), 6-4 win over Pablo Carreno Busta, who was playing his only match of the day.

Several days of rain turned the quarterfinals into an endurance test. Six men’s and three women’s singles matches were held over from Thursday because of rain.

Roger Federer and Simona Halep made quick work of their rain-delayed matches Friday afternoon and advanced to the quarterfinals, facing the daunting challenge of playing a few hours later in humid conditions.

Federer — the top player left in the men’s bracket after No. 1 Rafael Nadal withdrew to get some rest — needed only 72 minutes to beat Leonardo Mayer 6-1, 7-6 (6), leaving him on course for yet another Cincinnati title. He’s won a record seven despite missing the tournament the last two years because of injury.

Then, it was off for a little rest before an evening match against fellow Swiss player Stan Wawrinka, who advanced with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Marton Fucsovics.

“Waiting around all day and hardly seeing any tennis obviously is never fun for the tournament and the fans,” Federer said. “So we’re happy that the tournament is back underway. Today I tried to really focus on just the one match, not thinking that there is possibly going to be two.”

On the women’s side, the top-ranked Halep beat Ashleigh Barty 7-5, 6-4 early Friday afternoon to reach the quarterfinals, then returned and knocked off Lesia Tsurenko 6-4, 6-1, raising both arms in triumph at the end of her long day featuring two full matches.

Halep has faced the most challenges from the rain, with one match suspended overnight Wednesday and then her third-round match held over for a day as well.

“I hope it’s not going to happen again,” Halep said. “I will not complain, but it was a tough day.”

Barty, who lost to Halep in last week’s Rogers Cup semifinals in Montreal, committed 32 unforced errors to Halep’s 17. Halep is seeking her first Cincinnati championship after losing in the finals last year and 2015.

In a match between rested players, Petra Kvitova beat Elise Mertens 7-5, 5-7, 6-3 to reach the semifinals.

UNM regents to vote again on contested athletic cuts

Supporters of New Mexico athletics attend the university Board of Regents meeting Friday, Aug. 17, 2018, in Albuquerque, N.M. (Jim Thompson/The Albuquerque Journal via AP)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Regents at New Mexico’s flagship university on Friday voted for a second time to cut men’s soccer and other teams, citing longstanding financial challenges within the troubled athletics department and failures by the school to meet federal gender equity mandates under Title IX.

The unanimous vote followed hours of public testimony that included emotional pleas to preserve the soccer team along with men’s and women’s skiing, beach volleyball and women’s diving.

Diving was taken off the table before the final vote after questions were raised by student regent Garrett Adcock regarding the facilities used by the team and the minuscule savings that would be realized by eliminating the team.

The move prompted cheers from some in the audience but many were still frustrated about the overall cuts and responded with boos.

University President Garnett Stokes said the reality is that a university the size of UNM doesn’t have the resources to support 22 competitive Division I teams and that the athletics department needs to get its house in order and not at the expense of the rest of the university.

“This is an incredibly difficult decision,” she said. “It is an incredibly emotional time for our students, our staff and for our faculty and for our leaders.”

Top legislative leaders urged the board to delay the vote, saying potential solutions could be hashed out during the next legislative session in January. University officials countered that any fix would require millions of dollars more in recurring funding and more uncertainty would only hurt the teams and student athletes.

The regents first voted on the cuts in July. That sparked public outcry and they came under fire from the state attorney general and others for alleged violations of state open meeting laws.

Friday’s special meeting was meant to address those concerns.

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller was among those who rallied ahead of Friday in hopes that regents would reconsider — or at least delay — their decision to cut the teams. The proposal before the board also called for significant roster reductions within other programs.

“Let’s take time to get this right and also address all of the issues for all of the sports,” he said in a video posted online.

Members of the City Council also weighed in along with candidates running for office. The political interest comes as Albuquerque prepares next year to see some return on its investment to bring a minor league soccer team to town.

The UNM men’s soccer team has among the highest profiles nationally of Lobo men’s sports, with its numerous NCAA tournament appearances and a reputation for drawing prospective talent from around the world.

Top university officials argued again Friday that options are limited if the athletic department has any hope of turning around its finances and meeting Title IX requirements.

“Merely keeping up status quo is not a viable option,” athletics director Eddie Nunez said.

He called the process heartbreaking and said anything short of cuts would be unrealistic.

He and Stokes have pointed to an analysis of the university’s sports programs that found expenses have continued to increase, revenues have decreased and the operating budgets for each sports program have been incrementally reduced over the past decade.

The analysis also mentions shortfalls in budgeted ticket sales and fundraising efforts over the past two years.

The university this week also posted more documents online that officials say were used in making the decision on which sports would be eliminated and which would see roster changes as part of the proposal.

Results show grades for New Mexico schools remain flat

In this July 12, 2018 file photo, New Mexico Public Education Secretary Christopher Ruszkowski announces the results of this year's standardized assessments during an event at North Valley Academy in Los Ranchos, N.M. New Mexico school districts now will get student test scores by the end of the school year and will have 15 more days to prepare for statewide exams Ruszkowski said Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018, after receiving feedback. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan, file)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The number of New Mexico public schools receiving top grades remained flat while some schools face closure for constantly getting a failing grade, according to statewide results released Friday.

The New Mexico Public Education Department’s annual report card showed that 12.9 percent of public schools earned an A for the 2017-2018 academic year. That’s a drop from 14.5 from the previous year.

The percentage of B grades ticked up slightly to 25.9 percent — an increase of 2 percent.

However, 14.6 percent of schools earned an F, a small decrease from 15.7 percent from the previous year.

Although grades remain flat, Education Secretary Christopher Ruszkowski said statewide student standards have gotten more rigorous and it’s harder for schools to earn high grades.

“There is a wide variety of schools who earned an A and they are doing very innovating things,” said Ruszkowski, pointing out charter schools like Taos Academy and Mission Achievement and Success in Albuquerque.

Still, some schools like Whittier Elementary in Albuquerque and Dulce Elementary are facing closure for earning failing grades for several years. Whittier took in its seventh straight F grade and could close if it receives another one next year, under state law. Dulce Elementary earned its sixth straight failing grade.

In addition, state officials said they are concerned about Santa Fe, where a majority of its public schools — 56 percent — earned a D or failing grade.

The school grades come after recent results show only 31 percent of students tested this spring are proficient or better in reading and around 21 percent are proficient or better in math. The test results are from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC.

The PARCC exams, administered by New Mexico, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts and New Jersey, are designed to show how well schools helped students from third grade to 11th grade meet Common Core standards.

Betty Patterson, president of the National Education Association in New Mexico, dismissed the school grades on Friday and said they were a reflection of other problems in the state.

“School grades based on a failed system are always suspect,” Patterson said. “In the districts where you see Fs so often there are other problems like child poverty, homeless students, lack of health care and mental health issues. We also need to add true community schools as an alternative to closing schools.”

Police: Former high school teacher had sex with girls


AZTEC, N.M. (AP) — Authorities in New Mexico say a former high school teacher accused of having sex with a student admitted to doing so with several other girls while a teacher in Aztec.

Police say 31-year-old James Dee Coulter had sex with a student when she was 17 years old and that he told police following his arrest on Friday that there were more.

Police say their investigation began in June after the state’s Public Education Department contacted them about allegations against Coulter.

PED turned over evidence and statement indicating the former math and philosophy teacher had an illicit sexual relationship with at least one girl.

Coulter told police on Friday that he had several more sexual relationships with other girls Aztec High School, where he previously taught.

He faces four counts of criminal sexual penetration of a minor.

NMSU create new positions as its budget is ‘in the red’


LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico State University’s new chancellor and president have unveiled a new administrative structure for the institution, including new positions.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports Chancellor Dan Arvizu announced Wednesday that his chief of staff Lenny Martinez will lead the new Office of Strategic Initiatives, which includes a new position for a chief marketing officer.

Other new administrative positions include a strategic financial officer who will manage the university’s real estate and financial assets and an associate provost focused on issues of diversity and inclusion pertaining to students, faculty and all other staff.

The new positions come as the university’s budget is in the red.

When asked how the new positions would be funded, President John Floros said there is no money available, but he hopes to secure the pay from improved revenue.

Contractor makes progress on new border wall in New Mexico


SANTA TERESA, N.M. (AP) — Construction workers have completed more than half of a new barrier along a desolate stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border in southern New Mexico as part of President Donald Trump’s fight against drug trafficking and illegal immigration.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials confirmed this week that more than 8,100 panels spanning more than 11 miles (18 kilometers) had been constructed as of Aug. 8.

Work on the $73 million project west of Santa Teresa, near New Mexico’s state line with Texas, began in April.

Officials have touted the new wall as harder to get over, under and through. When finished, it will cover 20 miles (32-kilometers), replacing old post and rail barriers that were meant to stop vehicles but have been useless against people trying to cross on foot.

Environmentalists are suing over the project.

More detail in Colorado family killings expected next week

This photo combo of images provided by The Colorado Bureau of Investigation shows, from left, Bella Watts, Celeste Watts and Shanann Watts. The Frederick Police Department said Chris Watts was taken into custody. Watt's pregnant wife, 34-year-old Shanann Watts, and their two daughters, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste were reported missing Monday, Aug. 13, 2018. The police said on Twitter early Thursday that Chris Watts will be held at the Weld County Jail. He has not yet been charged. (The Colorado Bureau of Investigation via AP)

FREDERICK, Colo. (AP) — Colorado authorities prepared Friday to file formal charges against an oil and gas worker accused of killing his pregnant wife and two young daughters inside their suburban home, then dumping their bodies on his employer’s property.

Police said the mother, Shanann Watts, was found dead on property owned by Anadarko Petroleum, one of the state’s largest oil and gas drillers, where 33-year-old Christopher Watts worked as an operator. Investigators found what they believe are the bodies of 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste nearby on Thursday.

The operator position generally charges employees with routine visits to oil fields, checking on the status of wells, maintaining the equipment and fixing any issues. Watts was fired on Wednesday, the same day he was arrested, the company said.

The family’s two-story home is just outside Frederick, a small town on the grassy plains north of Denver, where fast-growing subdivisions intermingle with drilling rigs and oil wells.

According to a June 2015 bankruptcy filing, Christopher Watts had gotten a job six months earlier as an operator for Anadarko, and paystubs indicate his annual salary was about $61,500. Shanann Watts was working in a call center at a children’s hospital at the time, earning about $18 an hour — more for evenings, weekends or extra shifts she sometimes worked.

But the family remained caught between a promising future and financial strain from debt and other obligations.

The couple had a combined income of $90,000 in 2014. But they also had tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt, along with some student loans and medical bills — for a total of $70,000 in unsecured claims on top of a sizable mortgage.

They said in the filing that their nearly $3,000 mortgage and $600 in monthly car payments formed the bulk of their $4,900 in monthly expenses.

Police have not released any information about a motive or how the three were killed. Authorities did not immediately respond to messages Friday seeking information about exactly where the families’ bodies were found.

Details about what led police to arrest Watts late Wednesday night on suspicion of three counts apiece of murder and tampering with evidence likely were to be revealed next week.

Prosecutors also will ask a court to unseal the affidavit for Watts’ arrest after filing formal charges, due by Monday afternoon, said Krista Henery, a spokeswoman for district attorney Michael Rourke.

Henery declined to answer questions Friday about where the mother and daughters’ bodies were found or whether police still are processing that scene.

Family and friends of Shanann Watts are left searching for answers, trying to reconcile Watts’ cheery Facebook posts about her daughters, her pregnancy and her love for her husband with the pending charges.

Ashley Bell met Shanann Watts about two years ago, when the 34-year-old mother of two came into Bell’s new tanning salon in nearby Dacono. The two women quickly became friends, and before long they were texting or calling each other almost daily. Their daughters played together during salon visits.

Bell said she never detected that anything was amiss with the Watts family.

“I just don’t understand it,” said Bell, who described Christopher Watts as a loving father.

Shanann Watts was from North Carolina, and her parents’ next-door neighbor, Joe Beach, said he saw her recently when she visited the neighborhood of modest homes in Aberdeen.

“We were talking about general things, about how her two girls were doing and how life was out in Colorado. She didn’t give me an indication that there was anything wrong. She seemed pretty happy,” he said.

After his wife and daughters were reported missing and before he was arrested, Watts stood on his porch and lamented to reporters how much he missed them, saying he longed for the simple things like telling his girls to eat their dinner and gazing at them as they curled up to watch cartoons.

He did not respond to reporters’ questions when he was escorted into the courtroom Thursday.

His attorney, James Merson with the Colorado State Public Defender’s Office, left the hearing without commenting to reporters and did not respond to a voicemail left at his office Thursday by The Associated Press.

The case has focused attention on Colorado’s lack of a law allowing homicide charges in the violent deaths of fetuses, which is the case in 12 states. Proposals to allow homicide charges in the violent deaths of fetuses in Colorado have been stymied by debate about how to avoid infringing on abortion rights.

Republican lawmakers last tried to change the law after a 2015 case in Boulder County. A woman named Dynel Lane was charged with attempted murder and unlawful termination of a pregnancy for cutting open a pregnant woman’s belly and removing her unborn baby girl.

Prosecutors said they could not charge Lane with murder because a coroner found no evidence the infant lived outside the womb.

State law does allow a homicide charge if a fetus was alive outside the mother’s body and then killed. State lawmakers in 2013 also allowed prosecutors to add extra felony charges against anyone who commits a crime that causes the death of a fetus.

The law can add up to 32 years to a prison sentence. The top punishment for homicide in Colorado is the death penalty or life in prison.

Prosecutors have not discussed any additional charges Watts may face.


Translate »